Don't Waste Your Money: Research mobile mechanics before hiring - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Don't Waste Your Money: Research mobile mechanics before hiring

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(Toledo News Now) - If you need to save money on car repair, a mobile mechanic can be the answer. They come to you for a fraction of the price of going to the dealer, but some are just out to scam drivers.

If you've had to pay for a repair at a car dealer lately, you know how expensive it can be. Even a small repair can top $500.
    
So shade tree and mobile mechanics, who work out of their garage or out of a truck, are back in demand. They have no overhead, so their prices are low.

Only problem: Some of them are just out to rip you off, as one man learned.

Inexpensive Mechanics On Craigslist

David Just is almost embarrassed to admit that he was ripped off by a scam mechanic.

"I needed some car repair work done, so I went onto Craigslist," he explained.

There, Just found mechanics offering their services between $25 and $50 an hour, which is half the price of a dealer. So he called one, and paid him cash upfront for some needed parts. The man even gave Just a receipt.

Just went to work, leaving the mobile mechanic alone with his Buick. He then paid him for the repairs, and sent the mechanic on his way.

But when the car ended up making the same engine noise and continued to run poorly, Just realized he had been ripped off.

"He would have had to have removed these bolts here to have removed the engine," Just said. "And you can obviously tell the bolts never had any rust removed off them!"

Just was out more than $600, with an unrepaired engine.

A Common Scam

Just searched online and found this is a common scam nationwide.

"You pay him for the parts, only when you get the car back later on, you realize the engine was never out of the car and nothing was done," Just explained.

In some cases, the scam mechanic returns the parts, keeping your money for himself.

A Warning Before Hiring

There's nothing wrong with many mobile mechanics. They can save you money. Many are out-of-work certified mechanics, or others looking to earn some extra cash on the side.

But AAA warns you to:

  • Get any mobile mechanic's address and do a Google search for complaints.
  • Make sure they have a truck full of professional tools, not just some wrenches and screwdrivers. Legitimate mechanics carry several thousand dollars worth of tools and equipment.
  • Ask if they take credit cards. Most legitimate mechanics do. Plus, you can dispute a bad repair on a credit card. With cash, it's gone.
  • As Just learned, never pay cash in advance for parts.

Just has now filed complaints with the local sheriff's department.

Don't let this happen to you. Never let someone work on your car who doesn't have a legitimate place of business, or at least several references you can trust.
    
As always, don't waste your money.

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